TRIVIAL PURSUITS

A Medley of Snippets from Around the Web: Elon Musk, Frank Zappa, The Beatles, Dave Barry and More

If I put my phone in airplane mode, will it fly?

Photo by Anh Nguyen on Unsplash

I keep running across things I want to share, few of which I’d consider a blog post on its own without my having to do more work to make it seem important. For this reason I’ve decided to batch them here and call it a Medley.

Image for post
Image for post

Let’s start with Thursday’s StockTwits Daily Rip which had this item about Elon Musk:

His net worth is now approximately $188B, which means that if you stacked up his net worth in $100 bills, the stack would be 142 miles high. That’s … a lot.

Musk’s recent jump in net worth is tied to his equity in Tesla, which is up over 535% since he tweeted the stock price was too high last year.

Last night someone sent me this quote from Frank Zappa, who made a name for himself living on the fringe while challenging the status quo, regarding the nature of freedom in America:

“The illusion of freedom will continue for as long as it’s profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will take down the scenery, move the tables and chairs out of the way, then they will pull back the curtains and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater.”

And yes, The Beatles are back. (Have they ever really gone?) As some of you may have heard, producer/director/screenwriter Peter Jackson
(Lord of the Rings) has been working on a new documentary on The Beatles called Get Back. I believe it was supposed to be out in 2020 but — like so many things in the year of Covid — was held up for a season. Jackson has whet our appetites by producing a trailer that he deliberately declares is not a trailer. Whatever. It’s a teaser then. Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UocEGvQ10OE

When it comes to humorists, Dave Barry is one of my favorites. I’ve listened to countless Dave Barry audiobooks, most of which are compiled from his columns in the Miami Herald. The Pulitzer Prize-winning writer is now retired but still writing. I mean, why not? I am a writer and I’ve said more than a few dozen times, when asked what I am going to do when I retied, I say, “Well, I write until I’m 85, then decide after that.”

For all you trivia buffs, my Ennyman’s Territory blog currently, as of Thursday the 7th, has had 2,663,288 pageviews and yesterday, for some reason over 7000 people visited the site, which means something here went viral because I usually only have about a thousand except last winter when I was a celebrity for a season and averaged two to three thousand a day. Funny how that works.

All this is lead in to some Dave Barry quotes.

A number of years ago I sent Dave Barry a letter asking if he went to my high school in New Jersey, that there had been a Dave Barry in my class at one time. I may have told him the story about how Dave Barry and another guy and two girls were in a VW smoking a joint at the top of a cliff, but forgot to put the brakes on and the Bug rolled forward and fell over the edge. Fortunately it landed upside down in some trees and no one was killed.

Dave Barry the humorist actually replied. He sent me a post card, and yes, the comments were amusing. And no, he never went to high school with me.

The audio book I am currently “reading” is I’ll Mature When I’m Dead. I believe this is his first book after retiring or it may be his third, but the chapters a sometimes longer than his columns. Here are some excerpts.

If Man A asks Man B for directions, Man B, realizing that Man A is a weak, direction-asking type of male who probably also reads owner’s manuals, could decide to attack Man A’s village and plunder his women. Man A is not about to run that type of risk. — p. 27

There were automobiles, but they lacked many of the features that automobiles have today, such as a working motor. In the Barry household, we had a series of cars named (these were all real Barry cars) the “Rambler,” the “Minx,” the “Metropolitan,” and the “Valiant.” You could rely on these cars- rain or shine, hot or cold- to not start. The “Metropolitan,” in particular, was no more capable of internal combustion than of producing a litter of puppies. — p. 54

The American newspaper industry is in serious trouble. How serious? Consider: In 1971, when I was hired for my first newspaper job, there were 62 million newspaper subscribers in the United States; today, there are twelve, an estimated five of whom are dead and therefore unlikely to renew. — p. 185

I think that parents — not all of them, but a lot of them — are sucking the fun out of kids’ sports. They’re making it clear to their kids that they think sports is about winning, and only winning. This is a reasonable value to instill if you honestly believe your child is going to become a professional athlete. But you need to remember two things: 1. Your child is not, in fact, going to become a professional athlete. 2. There are more important things in life than winning. Such as not being a jerk. — p. 244–45

If you’ve never read Dave Barry and don’t know his work, well, um, like what planet are you from? No, that’s OK. Here’s a link to excerpts from his various books. And to show you how humorists can be serious and not simply going for laughs, here are a couple quote from his Dave Barry Slept Here: A Short History of the United States.

So there’s no question about it: by the mid-fifties, America was definitely in a Golden Era, an era of excitement and opportunity for all citizens, regardless of race or creed or color, unless the person happened to be black. Then there was a problem. — p. 137–38

Thus was born the civil rights movement, an epic struggle that has required much sacrifice and pain, but which has enabled the United States to progress, in just three decades, from being a nation where blacks were forced to ride in the back of the bus, to being a nation where, due to federal cutbacks, there is no bus. — p. 138

Now I know some of you may be wondering how I could put page numbers on quotes from an audio book. The answer to that question, friends, is here on Wikiquote.

Written by

An avid reader who writes about arts, culture, literature & other life obsessions. @ennyman3 Look for my books on Amazon https://tinyurl.com/y3l9sfpj

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store